WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — A man accused of shooting and killing a 13-year-old boy whom he said was trying to break into cars in a Northeast neighborhood turned himself in to police Tuesday morning.
The man, Jason Michael Lewis, 41, works for the District of Columbia’s Department of Parks and Recreation. The charge against Lewis is Second Degree Murder While Armed.
The Metropolitan Police Department said the shooting took place shortly before 4 a.m. on Jan. 7 along Quincy Street NE near Michigan Avenue NE in Brookland.
Initial information was that Lewis got into an argument with Karon Blake while the 13-year-old was breaking into cars and that that’s when Lewis shot him.
Police Chief Robert Contee said at a news conference Tuesday, that wasn’t the case and that there was no fight between Lewis and Blake.
An affidavit in support of an arrest warrant, filed in Superior Court for the District of Columbia, states that when police arrived at the scene of the shooting, an officer found Lewis performing chest compressions on Blake. Lewis told the officer where his gun was and told the officer that Blake had run towards Lewis’ house. It was at that point that Lewis said he shot Blake. Lewis said he had a concealed carry permit and that he only fired his gun twice.
Lewis told officers he was in the entryway to his courtyard when the shooting happened and that Blake and at least one other person were across the street. He said he was in bed when he heard noises and went downstairs because he didn’t know if someone was trying to get into his home.
Lewis told police after he fired his gun, Blake yelled, “I’m a kid! I’m a kid!” and collapsed.
Through the investigation, detectives found inconsistencies in Lewis’ account through conversations with him, interviews with witnesses, and reviews of available video.
Contee said that Blake and other people were stealing or attempting to steal cars. Investigators believe the first shot Lewis fired actually was at the getaway car. According to the affidavit, evidence collected showed Lewis fired his gun more than twice.
In some of the video reviewed by police, the affidavit states that Blake can be heard yelling, “I am sorry” a number of times, as well as “Please don’t” and “No.” Blake also shouted, “I am a kid” and “I am only 12.”
There was an outcry from members of the community after Blake’s death, particularly because no arrest had been made for his killing. Rumors and conjecture swirled as to who the person responsible for the shooting was and why he had not been charged. The situation prompted Police Chief Robert Contee to hold a news conference to address the spreading of misinformation which he described as “dangerous” and “reckless.”
Lewis appeared in court Tuesday afternoon where his lawyer, among other things, argued that there were mitigating circumstances that factored into the shooting, including the fact that Blake was going towards Lewis.
The judge said the video evidence showed that Blake never came on Lewis’ property, which meant that there was no basis he had a reasonable fear for his safety. The judge said Lewis was the first aggressor and lost his right to self defense. She added that Lewis fired the first shot, arm extended, outside of his gate.
“There was no threat to him at that point. He could have just walked inside his home,” the judge said.
In making an argument for Lewis’ bond, his lawyer said the lifelong resident of D.C. and father of four has no criminal history and that he tried to save Blake’s life after the shooting and cooperated with police in the investigation.
The prosecution said that Lewis left out information when he talked to investigators, including that he fired at a vehicle before anything else happened.
The judge denied bond for Lewis and set his next hearing for Feb. 13.
When asked for comment about Lewis’ arrest, Mayor Muriel Bowser provided this statement to DC News Now:
I want to thank Chief Contee and the Metropolitan Police Department for a thorough investigation in the case of Karon Blake, and for doing their part to ensure our system delivers justice for victims, their loved ones, and our community. The department operated with integrity, urgency , and a commitment to getting this right.
Karon Blake’s death was needless. Too many guns are leading to too many tragedies. While I am grateful to the community for answering our call for information, I know that we must do more to get guns out of our city. This past weekend, a four year old accidentally shot herself and another 13 year old appears to have been shot accidentally and was killed — and neither gun has been recovered or turned in. Someone in our city knows where those guns are. We cannot fuel this horrific and traumatizing cycle of violence without every person, family, and community helping to keep our young people safe.Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, D.C.